2015 DPCA Officer Candidate Statement Orlando Vidal, International Counsel - PDF

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Name Gender Candidate For: Orlando Vidal Male Year Joined DA 2012 Country/Countries Links to any Website, LinkedIn, Blog/Facebook/Twitter/YouTube sites (optional). Please list one on each row. Biography
Name Gender Candidate For: Orlando Vidal Male Year Joined DA 2012 Country/Countries Links to any Website, LinkedIn, Blog/Facebook/Twitter/YouTube sites (optional). Please list one on each row. Biography International Counsel UAE I am a partner at the Dubai and Washington, D.C. offices of Dentons, the world's largest law firm. In Dubai, I practice International Arbitration and head our Middle East Compliance and Investigations Group. I am also a former U.S. federal prosecutor (Assistant U.S. Attorney), in the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, where I served for four years. I also served as Resident Legal Advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice in Bogotá, Colombia. Throughout my career, I have volunteered in numerous roles, including as General Counsel of the National Hispanic Bar Association and the Hispanic College Fund. I'm also active on several humanrights pro bono projects before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. And, of course, I had the privilege of being elected in 2013 and having served for the past two years as International Counsel of Democrats Abroad. Describe your volunteer work with DA and cite your greatest DA accomplishment. My most significant accomplishment has been to provide Democrats Abroad at the Global, Regional, and Country Committee levels, and sometimes despite, above, and beyond any internal political divisions with what I hope was good, independent, thorough, and timely legal advice. As part of that, I would include my drafting and completion of our Delegate Selection Plan and proposed Charter amendments. A second accomplishment would be having personally participated in all DPCA Global and Regional meetings since my election in London in 2013, including meetings in Costa Rica, Kiev, Taiwan, and D.C., and of course our upcoming meeting in the DR. A third accomplishment would be helping our Country Committee in the UAE get back into compliance. Finally, I would mention not so much as an accomplishment but as fun thing I got to do having had the pleasure of MC-ing during our 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner in D.C. last year! Why are you running for this office? I am involved with Democrats Abroad for the same reason we are all involved: to elect more Democrats at every level of our federal and state governments. I am running for reappointment as International Legal Counsel because as, a lawyer, that's where my personal skills lie. I can contribute best by using those skills in this role. And behind and supporting me are the significant resources of the largest law firm in the word Dentons where I am privileged to be a Partner. I am very aware and sensitive to how important is the right to vote. As a person born in Puerto Rico a U.S. territory with four million American citizens who do not have a right to vote for President and who have no voting representation in Congress and as a former resident of D.C. whose residents, as we know, also do not have the right to voting representation in Congress I would like to make a contribution, however small, in this role to protect and advance the right to vote for all citizens despite where they may live. How will your skill sets and experience contribute to DA s success? Having experience in disputes and compliance has been very helpful in providing the best legal advice possible to Democrats Abroad, at the Global, Regional, and Country Committee levels. Having also been a practicing lawyer in Washington, including having served as an advocate for many clients before different branches of our federal government, has given me a deeper understanding of and a broader perspective into the real world of politics in our Nation's Capital an experience I have tapped into several times in this role. I have also tried hard to deal fairly with all sides of the many issues that always come up in this role and in a way that, while firm on what needs to happen, also does not necessarily alienate those who may take a different view. I think that's a particular skill set that's absolutely essential for anyone who wishes to be effective as International Counsel. If elected what are the three top issues within DA you will work to affect and how? These are DA internal issues, not political issues. To be clear, being International Legal Counsel does not necessary give our organization what it needs most. What DA needs most of all is: (1) more members, more money, and more human resources (not the least of whom should be our own Executive Director and more volunteers); (2) a better way of tracking overseas voters and getting out the vote, especially in Presidential elections and those other elections where it would really make a difference; and (3) last but not least, we need to pull together. WE REALLY NEED TO. While an International Legal Counsel is not directly involved in these efforts, he or she supports all of them with his legal and compliance advice. These are, to me, the most important issues within DA and, in my role as International Counsel, I will continue to work hard towards making significant progress in those areas. What three planks/issues are you most passionate about to include in the DA 2016 Platform and why? DA creates a Platform every 4 years that feeds into the DNC Platform for the Presidential election. Last February 21st, the DNC passed a Resolution to establish a Right to Vote Taskforce that would make recommendations on changes in laws, regulations, and practices designed to improve voter participation and better uphold voting rights in local, state, and national elections and consider changes to recommend to state and federal constitutions, statutes, and regulations. To me, one of the most important things we should include in our platform is how we as Democrats Abroad are going to support this initiative, something I'm personally committed to do. The promotion of human rights and the rule of law are also issues we, as Democrats, care deeply about and I think Democrats Abroad needs to continue to show leadership on those fronts. Finally, as a Hispanic American, I feel passionate about the rights of immigrants to our country. As Americans living abroad, we too are immigrants of a sort however temporary are our stays in the foreign countries where we live. We need to remember those immigrants to our country, for as Passover celebrations remind us each you we too were slaves once in the land of Egypt. What can Democrats Abroad do to increase its profile among voters globally and better work to elect Democrats? Once we have an Executive Director in place (see my answer to the next question), the next thing we need is to find the funds for a dedicated Public Relations Officer and a global public relations campaign that will draw more potential voters, members, and donors to and That's in my opinion the best and most effective way to increase our profile, our membership, our resources, and eventually increase the number of Democrats we can help elect. How can DA work best with the Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee to represent the issues of Americans living abroad? What can be enhanced or improved in this relationship? This is fairly simple to identify but it's proven hard in practice: we need our own dedicated Executive Director in Washington. D.C. Anything we can do to make that happen will make a huge difference. What will you do to grow DA and ensure greater overall participation by Chapter Members? Though above and beyond my role as International Counsel, I commit to a renewed effort to organize and increase our Country Committees in the region where I live, the Middle East, not an easy area to operate in but somewhere we must, should, and could certainly improve.
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